The New York Times has published a list of all the people, places, and things that Donald Trump has insulted on Twitter during his presidential campaign. It’s quite long, adding up to 281 total targets, from Hillary Clinton and Ted Cruz to Alec Baldwin and Whoopi Goldberg.
This is simply not normal for a presidential candidate, especially since this is actually a limited list — it only includes Trump’s insults on Twitter and the campaign trail. So all the insults he’s leveled at campaign rallies, speeches, and debates are left out. And all the insults he leveled before the campaign are excluded too.
Besides showing that Trump personally attacks a lot of people, this exposes how he creates his own worst enemies. Libby Nelson explained for Vox, commenting on a recent Hillary Clinton advertisement in which Khizr Khan, the father of a dead Muslim US soldier, blasted Trump:
Political messaging featuring Real People — framed in ways to emphasize how much they are not politicians — usually feels strained or hackneyed. While involving them is meant to put a human face on the stakes of the election, they often seem like props. It’s easy to decide that the ads are simply gimmicks.
But Trump has changed that. Clinton was able to make this ad because Trump himself has created his own worst enemies. By engaging in asymmetric warfare with Democratic symbols such as Khan or former Miss Universe Alicia Machado, he’s made them much more powerful messengers against him.
Trump could have simply ignored Khan after he gave a speech at the Democratic National Convention, in which the Gold Star dad condemned Trump’s proposed ban on Muslims coming into the US. Instead, Trump went on a bizarre crusade against Khan — spending several weeks insulting him and his wife, including one remark that suggested Khan’s wife didn’t speak at the Democratic convention because her Muslim faith wouldn’t let her. (She later explained that she still feels too grief-stricken about her dead son to speak publicly about him.)
But it’s not just Khan; it’s literally hundreds of people, places, and things that Trump has turned into enemies by insulting them. It’s just one of the many ways that Trump’s own words have become the biggest argument against his campaign.